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Teaching Media Viewing Skills to Students

Instructor: Jaclyn Scotto

Jaclyn is a high school English teacher and college professor. She has a doctorate in Education.

~'Yay, free day! We are watching a movie!~' Students associate watching movies with no work. However, media can be a great teaching tool or supplement when used correctly! Read on to learn strategies for teaching media viewing skills to students.

Media literacy refers to how one interacts with a variety of media-based mediums. This can include film, music, art, websites, or online videos. Library media specialists in the state of Ohio are expected to teach students from grades kindergarten through twelve how to effectively evaluate, critique, and analyze media.

Effective Strategies

There are many effective strategies for teaching students how to view media. Regardless of which one you choose, be sure to walk students through the process step-by-step, at least the first few times. Students may not see media as anything more than entertainment. It is your role to teach them how to view media so that it can be used as educational tool.

Guided viewing is when the teacher provides students with an idea of what to look for while viewing media. There are lots of possibilities for application! One example is providing study guide questions. For example, while watching a film, the educator provides students with a series of questions to answer while viewing. Two helpful hints are to 1) put questions in chronological order, and 2) space out questions so that students have enough time to answer each before the next one (one question per 3-5 minutes of film depending on the students' ability level). Another example of guided viewing is providing a graphic organizer. If you want students to understand a particular topic, theme or idea, then this is an effective choice. Your graphic organizer can be as simple or as complex as you choose. For example, if you want students to view a series of websites and find examples of prejudice in history, you can create an organizer with palces for one example per website.

During guided viewing, students can answer study guide questions or complete graphic organizers.

A writing reflection activity requires students to take their own notes while viewing so that they can complete a task afterwards. Depending on the students' ability level, you can recommend the types of notes they should be taking. For example, you can advise students to jot down examples of a certain theme, or you can tell students what the writing reflection topic will be ahead of time so that they can take relevant notes. For more advanced students, you can just advise them to take notes as they watch; this puts the onus and responsibility on them to pay attention, and to take notes on the most relevant details. The writing reflection itself can range from summarizing main ideas, to drawing personal connections to the media. The choice is up to the educator.

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